Manitoba

Yazidi refugee families halted by bombers rescheduled to fly to Winnipeg

Two Yazidi families were supposed to be starting a new life in Winnipeg, surrounded by loved ones and away from the terrorists. Instead, they are living in fear in a hotel in Istanbul,

Attack at Istanbul airport grounded refugees' flights to freedom

Two Yazidi refugee families have been stranded in Turkey ever since a bombing in Istanbul's airport killed dozens last week. (Sedat Suna/EPA)

Two Yazidi families were supposed to be starting a new life in Winnipeg, surrounded by loved ones and away from the terrorists.

Instead, they are living in fear in a hotel in Istanbul, one week after suicide bombers killed dozens at an Istanbul airport and forced them to put their plans on hold.

"They're waiting patiently in their hotel but they're very afraid," said Winnipegger Nafiya Naso about her uncle and his family. "They only leave their rooms during mealtime. They're all strangers, they don't know anyone, they're terrified."

The families, who had travelled 26 hours from a refugee camp en route to Istanbul's Ataturk Airport when the bombing happened, were already "exhausted and sick" when they learned the airport was shut down.

We were all crushed,  but at the same time, glad they were not in the airport when the attack happened.- Nafiya Naso

"We were all crushed, but at the same time, glad they were not in the airport when the attack happened," Naso said.

Naso's father, who has not seen his brother in more than 30 years, was "in tears for days" when he learned their reunion was delayed. 

The families are now scheduled to arrive in Winnipeg late on Monday, July 11. 

"He [now] says he'll believe it when he sees them actually arrive here," Naso said. "He has waited so many years to see his brother again."

Naso is now, like the others, hoping this time, everything goes as planned and the families will soon build a new life in Winnipeg. ​

Yazidis have been targeted by ISIS. In 2014, about 40,000 Yazidis were forced to flee a city in northern Iraq after it was captured by ISIS. Thousands of Yazidi people were killed, and many women and girls were sold into slavery.

now